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MRUC targets 2010 for evolved magazine readership data
Thursday, November 06, 2008

Noor Fathima Warsia

While highlighting the various growth patterns across genre that the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2008 R2 has shown, Hansa Research's Ashok Das informed that magazines continued to see a tremendous decline in readership. Both the total readership (TR) and average issue readership (AIR) metrics were seeing a drop in the case of magazines - the latter declining much sharper than the former. The AIR numbers see the top ten players shifting positions. Hindi fortnightly Saras Salil continues to dominate the overall chart of all India AIR numbers. Malayalam fortnightly Vanitha follows. English weekly India Today (English) is on the number three position. These three players are on the same position as the top ten numbers in the IRS 2008 R1.

However, Hindi monthly Pratiyogita Darpan has climbed up and takes the number four position in this round. Tamil weekly Kumudam follows. (See all India magazine readership table below)

The Great Magazine Debate
Magazine readership has evoked various debates in the industry. One of the most vocal points made by magazine publishers is that magazines as a genre differ on various grounds from dailies. This is one reason why the measurement for magazines should take the difference into cognizance unlike the current prevalent structure of one-size-fits-all.

The Media Research Users Council (MRUC) had even initiated dialogue with the Indian Newspapers Society (INS) to work together on various aspects, magazines measurement leading the agenda over a year back. When asked on why any relevant measures for magazine measurement were not in place already, Sabina Solomon, GM, MRUC, divulged that given the amount of work that needed to be done and the energies that needed to be invested on this subject, a relevant magazine measurement system would not be in place before 2010.

Solomon added, "There is a lot that has to be done to be able to measure magazines aptly in the changing media scenario. We were not even looking at IRS 2008 or even 2009 to be able to action these changes. You would see them only in 2010." She explained that the dialogue with INS was an on-going one on the subject. She noted, "MRUC is an industry body too and hence, technically, we don't need to go to any other industry body to proceed with any research improvements that we have to make. However, we have been in active conversation with an industry bodies like the INS since we believe that they would have a considered view on the use of data and a relevant future, and we can get a collective view from them."

Bringing the overall media consumption habits to light here, Solomon attempted to put things in perspective on the drastically dropping numbers. She said, "There is a general decline in media consumption. At an individual level, there is fragmentation taking place and people are consuming lesser media in many cases. The situation requires us to take stock of the changing media landscape, as an industry, and then pave a way forward."

Other media may be showing declining trend, but the trend is most highlighted in magazines. In the total readership metric too, magazines have not done very well but needless to say, at least better than AIR.

IRS 2008 R2: Total Readership flayed as a fallible readership currency - November 18, 2008
Guest Column Retrofit: So, who is numero uno? - November 12, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: Understanding Indian DTH Market from IRS Window - November 11, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: And there are magazines that have shown growth too - November 10, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: No change in AIR's language-wise leaders; some languages see magazines score & dailies lose - November 07, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: English business publications, too, see a dip in readership - November 07, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: English magazines witness a decline - November 07, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: HT reclaims leadership slot in Delhi; TOI continues Mumbai rule - November 06, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: AIR Vs TR - publishers perplexed - November 06, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: Seven of the top 10 dailies decline on AIR - November 06, 2008
IRS 2008 R2 released: Top order remains unchanged; but decline trend continues - November 05, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: Circulation grows, readership doesn't... MRUC explains why - November 05, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: Print reach shows higher growth; dailies driving reach growth - November 05, 2008
IRS 2008 R2: All media show a declining regularity of consumption - November 05, 2008
IRS 2008 R2 released: No surprises in the top order; decline trend high in magazines - November 04, 2008
MP High Court issues notices in NaiDuniya writ petition on IRS 2008 R1 report - August 27, 2008
IRS 2008 R1: NaiDunia issues legal notice to MRUC over readership figures - May 09, 2008
IRS 2008 R1: TOI tops the English dailies' list in Mumbai & Delhi, even as leading dailies register a dip - April 28, 2008
IRS 2008 R1: English business publications see a dip in readership, again - April 28, 2008
IRS 2008 R1: No cheer for magazines either - April 28, 2008
IRS 2008 R1: Dainik Jagran continues the lead in Hindi dailies; TOI leads English - April 26, 2008
IRS 2008 R1: No surprises in the language wise leaders as well - April 26, 2008
IRS 2008 R1: Saras Salil continues its lead in the overall magazine genre - April 26, 2008